Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Wrap-up: Vikings 24, Eagles 14
By Kevin Seifert
A few thoughts on a stunning outcome -- Vikings 24, Eagles 14 -- Tuesday night at Lincoln Financial Stadium:
What it means: Not to take anything away from the Minnesota Vikings, but the most significant result of this game was that the Chicago Bears clinched the NFC's No. 2 seed and a coveted first-round bye in the 2010 playoffs. That said, I for one thought there was no chance the Vikings would play an inspired game after mailing in their two previous appearances and then sitting in a Philadelphia hotel for two extra days. Credit to them for rediscovering their focus and, in the process, winning a prime-time cold-weather game for only the second time in the past 20 seasons.
Could have been worse: Yes, the only thing more surprising than the Vikings' victory was that it could have been more decisive. Vikings defensive backs Lito Sheppard, Frank Walker and Jamarca Sanford all dropped interceptions in the first half.
FrazierWatch: Will this victory be enough for interim coach Leslie Frazier to earn the permanent job? We could be days away from finding out the answer.
WebbWatch: Did anyone -- anyone -- envision rookie quarterback Joe Webb outdueling the Eagles' Michael Vick, arguably the best player in the NFL this season? I won't pretend to have believed it possible. Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell joked earlier this month that Webb is so raw that he doesn't know what he doesn't know. Perhaps it was rookie naiveté, but Webb looked like a calm, precise and in-control West Coast quarterback from the start. He completed 17 of 26 passes for 195 yards, making two nice downfield throws to receiver Percy Harvin (for 46 and 19 yards) and also made a nifty 9-yard run down the right sideline for a touchdown. If nothing else, Webb gave the Vikings an interesting tape to review and evaluate this offseason.
Stopping Vick: Minutes before the game, I caught a taped radio interview with Frazier. Asked what the Vikings would do to defend against Vick, Frazier pledged to get a man "in his face" on as many plays as possible. Anecdotally, the Vikings blitzed more than I've seen them in any game this year. (I'll search for the specific figures Wednesday.) The Eagles had no answer for the corner blitz from Antoine Winfield, who had two of the Vikings' six sacks and ran 45 yards for a touchdown after forcing Vick to fumble in the second quarter. Vick appeared to be limping throughout the game and his passes were off-target for the most part.
Let's not forget: The NFC North went 3-1 against the Eagles this season and were four points away from a sweep. The Eagles' only victory over the division was a 35-32 thriller over the Detroit Lions in Week 2.
All Tuesday Night: Tailback Adrian Peterson returned from a one-game absence to run for 118 yards. He lost his first fumble of the season on a play I was surprised Frazier didn't challenge, but otherwise had an extra gear for much of the night.
What's next: The Vikings will travel to Ford Field to play the Detroit Lions in a game to determine the No. 3 position in the NFC North.